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We Must First Secure Somalia To Make The Waters Safe
Written by Administrator
September 30, 2008: The seizure by Somali pirates of a Belize-registered vessel which was carrying military arsenal to Kenya is a wake-up call to the international community.
The pirates are not only a threat to international commerce as we know it, but also show how the war in Somalia has spilled beyond its international borders.
While the free movement of cargo has always been the heart of international commerce, freight movement off the Somali waters is going to become complex, risky and expensive.
Merchant ships had previously been attacked, paid ransom and released.
This not only set a bad precedent but also sent a signal to the pirates that it was a way of life. We watched as they snowballed from rag-tag bandits to sea-pirates.
The world also watched as the pirates upped the game, and now they have acquired deadly arsenals and are ready to launch multi-million dollar demands.
The hijacking of the ship with military hardware destined for Kenya is thus not an isolated incident but part of what today drives the thuggish economy of the war-torn Somalia .
As has been pointed out, the small arms in the ship —if they are whisked away— could tilt the balance of power in the war -torn country.
Kenya has put it strongly that it cannot, and will not negotiate with terrorists. And that is the way forward. Crime should not pay and should never pay in our international waters.
The world cannot sit back and allow extortionist gangs to freely roam international waters leading to and from the Horn of Africa.
Recently, a Germany ship owner Niels Stolberg made the mistake of paying $1.1 million to recover his $23 million freighter.
It is such payments that have made the pirates increase their attacks hoping to get more maritime prizes.
The insurance premiums are on the rise and shippers might be forced to use the South African route which adds more than 4,000 kilometers to their voyage.
But the main message that is being sent is that the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) is unable to control its waters and land. As such, a government fails all the definitions and we must return to the drawing board.
The international community must look for a formula to bring the lawless country back to civility of nations.
There is a general amnesia on Somalia where we still have a lawless state.
The pirates are now forcing us to recognize their existence by grabbing our attention back.
We must give them the attention by sending a forceful message that their days are numbered.
The maritime industry marks our desire to global commerce. It must be made clear to the pirates that nations will use effective force to make the international waters secure.
It is today clear that pirates have ocean going vessels which are equipped with the latest satellite technology to monitor other vessels.
Unless the world opens the 2,285 kilometers of the coastline in Somalia and recognizes the Republic of Somaliland whose waters have been spared, we will see no end to this international circus.
As the world watches this saga of the MV Faina, we should not forget that the future of Somalia does not only lie with its downtrodden. It lies with the international community which should move out of its shell and act today.
MV Faina is one single raid. But if the waters are to be secured, we must first secure the nation of Somalia .
Source: Business Daily, Nairobi Kenya